Fact check by disability advocacy group on voting day in Rajasthan throws up gaps in accessible election promises
It’s not just the 22 lakh missing voters in Telangana that the the Election Commission of India (ECI) is getting flak for.
A fact-check of polling booths in Jaipur, Rajasthan and Mizoram by the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP) has revealed major shortcomings in accessibility for disabled people and the elderly.
In a series of tweets along with pictures taken across Jaipur has shown how in many places makeshift, unwieldy ramps were propped up for wheelchair users. The arrangements made across polling booths were not done in a planned, holistic manner as the EC had promised to.
Many polling booths had no accessible toilets, Braille sheets were missing in some, while some had no ground levelling. At the polling centre at Jyoti Nagar, while a ramp and wheelchair was available, the passage to the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) was too narrow for a wheelchair to negotiate.
The shoddy arrangements have come as a disappointment after the accessible election promises made by the EC. In a strongly worded tweet, Arman Ali, Executive Director, NCPEDP, called it "a joke on people with disabilities”.
Disability rights leader Dr Satendra Singh, also took to social media to express his outrage. “The country which takes pride in #StatueofUnity has this for people with disabilities. This is totally unacceptable. No more charity, give us our dignified rights”.
NGO Umang which has worked closely with the state election commission in Rajasthan to implement the EC’s Accessible Election guidelines, is doing an in depth survey into how these measures actually worked out on the ground.
Deepak Kalra, Director, Umang said the NGO sent 11 teams across various polling centres in Jaipur on voting day.
So far we have feedback from seven booths and we are waiting for reports from other parts of the state. What we are hearing is that basic things like ramps and wheelchairs were in place and so were ballot papers in Braille. Many schools had good quality ramps but in many areas, tables were used which were not stable. Toilets were not there in many centres and nor was accessible parking possible at many centres. - Deepak Kalra, Director, NGO Umang
There were also unexpected demands for wheelchairs raised at certain centres by people with injuries, says Kalra, which officials were not prepared for.
“One other issue which we plan to raise with the EC is the quality of staff. There were scouts and NCC cadets placed to guide people but they were not trained at all. In fact, they were even found to be misguiding people”.
Clearly, rolling these measures out on the ground is a separate challenge altogether, one that the EC will hopefully address better in subsequent elections.
Watch in Sign Language
- Review petition challenging 50% vision, hearing disability limit for judge's post to be filed next week
February 15, 2019
- Medical Council of India lets down disabled medical aspirants yet again
February 13, 2019
- Kerala government introduces exclusive courts to handle cases for disabled people
February 13, 2019
Read more on Newz Hook
- Get-hooked February 14, 2019 #LovePossible - What happened when Satendra Singh met his Paro
- Events February 12, 2019 Workshop on Advancing Your Interpreting Skills
- Headlines February 10, 2019 Impure alcohol kills 82 in U.P, Uttarakhand
- Headlines February 13, 2019 17 people killed in fire that broke out at Delhi hotel
- Get-hooked February 9, 2019 Udaan Idol Little Champs, Radio Udaan's annual music competition for disabled kids attracts huge response
- Events February 13, 2019 Job Oriented Preparatory Workshop for persons with disabilities
- Headlines February 12, 2019 Rajinikanth’s daughter Soundarya gets married
- Events February 14, 2019 Be a Valentine - Celebrate Love
- Get-hooked February 14, 2019 Disability rights body seeks Health Minister's intervention to overturn guidelines that discriminate against MBBS aspirants
- Headlines February 12, 2019 Rajasthan Royals will wear pink this IPL season
Want to feature your inspiring story or share an event with the disabled community? Write to:
Accessibility February 11, 2019
Newz Hook - Accessible News